Texting now more popular than talking in UK, says Ofcom

By Peter Gothard
18 Jul 2012 View Comments

Ofcom's Communications Market 2012 report has revealed that, for the first time ever, texting has overtaken talking as the UK's preferred method of mobile communication.

The report states that, as of figures collected for 2011, 58 per cent of people in the UK will communicate with friends and family by text on a daily basis, while voice calls account for only 47 per cent. Face-to-face meeting comes in at only 47 per cent, while social networking now occupies 32 per cent of the UK's daily communication strategy.

Further reading

Looking at the figures at a more in-depth level, 90 per cent of 16-24-year olds will send a text at least once a day, while 73 per cent of this age group will use social networking to achieve those ends.

Lasy year also saw the first-ever drop in total mobile phone calls, seeing a one per cent reduction for mobile phones. Landlines continued their downward trend, seeing a 10 per cent drop since 2010.

Specifically in business, Ofcom's report revealed that face-to-face meeting is still the preferred way to do deals, as 28 per cent of respondents said they still favoured physical contact, though email is not far behind, at 24 per cent.

Fred Huet, managing partner at global telecoms advisor Greenwich Consulting, sees the texting statistics as a way to put industry debate to bed, saying the report shows "recent claims that messaging is dying are completely off-target".

"There are simply a greater number of mobile messaging and communications tools on offer, and therefore a more fragmented market," said Huet.

"What is perhaps most fascinating is the battle taking place between operators and cutting-edge OTT messaging services such as WhatsApp. As consumers will clearly continue to use messaging, innovation will be key in ensuring operators' continued relevance in this space as mobile phone users look to move beyond traditional SMS."

Other facts from the report include the revelation that 96 per cent of UK homes now have digital television, and that the average person spends four hours a day watching it. The average actual home broadband speed is 7.6Mbit/s.

Meanwhile, the study revealed that while 97 per cent of people have apps on their smartphones, 75 per cent of people own games or "fun" apps, while only 32 per cent use a phone for banking, and 26 per cent for business. Further, 80 per cent of those surveyed said they paid for less than half the app content of their phones.

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